A big, beautiful, high-tech wooden map of North Carolina

“My friend does some work for ShopBot Tools in nearby Durham, N.C. He recently let me borrow a HandiBot CNC tool.

“One of the first things I did with it was cut out a small etching of North Carolina and its 100 counties….”

— From “A Wooden Map of North Carolina”  by Michael Fogleman at medium.com (June 23, 2015)

The handsome outcome, illustrated step by step, is 80 inches wide, 30 inches tall and weighs 50 pounds.


Why, that North Carolina map looks just like ours!

“[Forbes Smiley] became increasingly brazen in the maps he stole, including some of enormous size….A map of North Carolina by John Collet was printed on two sheets without folds. Smiley must have had to create folds for himself, then iron them out later for mounting and sale. The [New York Public Library’s] staff never suspected such large materials were missing.

“Smiley sold the Collet map to a dealer, who resold it to San Diego map dealer Barry Ruderman. At the Miami map fair that year, Ruderman displayed it framed in his booth, and Smiley and Alice Hudson [the library’s chief of maps] stood admiring it together. Ruderman listened in as the two discussed how it was one of the rarest and most important maps of the region, done just before the Revolutionary War. ‘We have an excellent copy of that in our collection,’ Hudson said, as Smiley nodded.”

— From The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps” by Michael Blanding (2014)

Smiley was eventually apprehended and served three years in prison. His crucial mistake: leaving an X-Acto blade in the Beinecke Library at Yale.